CINEMA: MISSION: PREDICTABLE

IT'S HOLLYWOOD'S IDEA OF A MOVIE FOR THE THINKING PERSON. TOO BAD THE THOUGHTS ARE SO BANAL

The movie Contact is something like one of those mysterious asteroids that get the astronomers all worked up: a large body of gaseous matter surrounding a relatively small core of solid substance.

You would not, however, characterize it as "hurtling" through space to that theater near you. It proceeds very slowly through many banal deliberations about cosmic enigmas to a comfortably reassuring conclusion in which scientific humanism and vaguely uplifting religiosity are squishily reconciled.

This is not, frankly, a place at which one is rooting for Jodie Foster's Ellie Arroway to end up. Foster has always been an actress who gives...

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